Autocrine production of interleukin-6 confers cisplatin and paclitaxel resistance in ovarian cancer cells

Yue Wang, Xiu Long Niu, Ye Qu, Jian Wu, Ya Qin Zhu, Wei Jia Sun, Ling Zhi Li
Cancer Letters 2010 September 1, 295 (1): 110-23
It has been shown that IL-6 is elevated in the serum and ascites of ovarian cancer patients, and increased IL-6 concentration correlates with poor prognosis and chemoresistance. However, the role of IL-6 expression in the acquisition of the chemoresistance phenotype and the underlining mechanisms of drug resistance in ovarian cancer cells remain unclear. Here we demonstrate that both exogenous (a relatively short period of treatment with recombination IL-6) and endogenous IL-6 (by transfecting with plasmid encoding for sense IL-6) induce cisplatin and paclitaxel resistance in non-IL-6-expressing A2780 cells, while deleting of endogenous IL-6 expression in IL-6-overexpressing SKOV3 cells (by transfecting with plasmid encoding for antisense IL-6) promotes the sensitivity of these cells to anticancer drugs. IL-6-mediated resistance of ovarian cancer cells exhibits decreased proteolytic activation of caspase-3. Meanwhile, the further study demonstrates that the chemoresistance caused by IL-6 is associated with increased expression of both multidrug resistance-related genes (MDR1 and GSTpi) and apoptosis inhibitory proteins (Bcl-2, Bcl-xL and XIAP), as well as activation of Ras/MEK/ERK and PI3K/Akt signaling. Therefore, modulation of IL-6 expression or its related signaling pathway may be a promising strategy of treatment for drug-resistant ovarian cancer.

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